Poets and Ligthhouses Songlines review.
Poets and lighthouses
(Five stars rating)
Words that resonate (massively)
Albert Kuvezin's new incarnation of Yat- Kha continues his Singer-songwriter develop¬ment with his unique kanzat style of Tuvan throat singing. Imagine a sub-harmonic Tom Waits on die low notes which, when reaching the higher register, almost breaks down with the strain of keeping this demanding technique working. Kuvezin is the only Tuvan on the disc, recorded on the Scottish isle of Jura by Echo City founder Giles Perring. The sound is fresh and dear enabling all the nuances of Kuvezin's voice to growl through.
The album is all acoustic, with Kuvezin and Perring on guitars and percussion, Sarah Homer on clarinets, Simon Edwards on double bass and Melanie Pappenheim on backing vocals with the occasional bit of Uncle Patrel Mustapha (Lu Edmonds) on cumbus (Turkish banjo). These high-calibre musicians help create a distinctive character for each song, ranging from the klezmer pop of 'Poets and Lighthouses' to the cowboy blues ballad “Baiyrlyg”. Another inspiration is poetry: lyrics by the Japanese poets Yamamoto, Amano, Kamimura are sung in English; while those of the Tuvan poets Yemelyanov and Mizhit are sung in Tuvan.
Two tracks with Kuvezin’s words are sung in English. In between the songs are three short offerings to the spirit of the forest and mountains on which Kuvezin improvises across his range of throat singing. His throat singing may not be as fluid or technical as some other Tuvan singers but his heart and spirit of exploration are in the right place.
Michael Ormiston of the Songlines.